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Founder Profile: Inder Bedi, UN Climate Champion

Did you know our Founder, Inder Bedi was named a Climate Champion by the United Nations, through its COP 26 initiative? Inder's commitment to using environmentally friendly and recycled materials in creating long-lasting, high-quality pieces sets his work apart in the fashion industry.


As Earth Month comes to a close, BEDI’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t falter. For us, caring for the Earth is a year-round commitment. As we reflect on our sustainability goals for the coming year, we are guided by our fearless founder and his personal passion for creating a more sustainable future. We sat down with Inder to learn more about his personal thoughts on sustainability, his work in the fashion industry, and the recognition he’s received for his work. 

 

What does sustainability mean to you? 

To me, true sustainability means looking at everything we do, every day, from a 360 point of view. From the materials we use– taking into consideration where and how they’re sourced– to the community of talented tailors and makers bringing our designs to life, to our Second Life program, which allows us to give previously loved BEDI items a new life. 


What inspired you to create a brand that is driven by sustainability?

I wrote a business plan in 1995 that became the basis for MATT & NAT. After I left that venture I felt a little jaded as there was so much to do in terms of slow fashion and a truly circular economy. After years of research and development, I am proud to say we’ve assembled a concept with collections that are the most sustainably advanced in the world. And I feel so strongly about producing everything locally in Canada, which I’m also proud to say we have done from the beginning, and will continue to do. There’s still a lot of work to be done, of course. But we’re surrounded by a community of like minded artists and game changers, and I’ve never been as excited as I am today, in 2023, about this journey.

How did it feel to be named a Climate Champion by the UN in recognition of your work? 

Anyone that is close to me knows I’m pretty low key about accomplishments and tend to live under a rock! The most exciting part was to be mentioned in the same breath as David Suzuki and of course the exposure of being associated with the UN.


How do you define sustainability in your business, and what principles do you follow to ensure that your products are environmentally friendly?

Placing the environment and well being of our planet first, before we look at profits. We’re blessed to be part of a community that understands this approach to design and is willing to support us with their voting dollars.

Inder Bedi in his flagship store

How do you envision the future of sustainable fashion and lifestyle brands?

Transparency will be key in addressing all aspects of design: what are the input materials and their certification? How are these pieces being put together? Who is putting these pieces together? And finally, what is being done when the items reach the end of their life cycle?

Whether it’s on a panel or guest lecturing at the college or university level, I am constantly encouraging our community to ask questions from brands and if they don’t have answers, to take their voting dollars elsewhere.


What sustainable practices do you incorporate into your everyday life? 

Cycling for transportation, using reusable water bottles and cutlery (why do plastic water bottles still exist?!), eating a meat-free diet, and supporting local brands in all aspects of life– from food to fashion to interior design. And of course, purchasing items that I intend to use forever.

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